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Shaanxi Province Ansi Elementary School
Community Council Meeting

In December of 1999, the Phelex Foundation signed the contract with UPM-Kymmene Corporation to establish 720 mu forest base for Ansi Elementary School. The school's location is rocky and water is scarce. Farmers survive by planting corn in the few farmable areas. But then people realized they faced a striking question: Where would they find the 720 mu needed for the school?

The first county meeting was held to discuss the school land issue. People from surrounding nine villages actively engaged in deciding the location of the 720 mu land for school use.

"When building the school, every village gave their share of money. Since the school was built in Ansi, Ansi should provide the land," said a villager.
"But when building the school, we provided money and land, plus we helped with the construction, so this time I fear we can't provide land again," replied the Ansi village representative.

"No, since the school is on Ansi property, the land should be too," responded the other village representatives.

During the heated debate, Phelex volunteer and district Party secretary Shuren Liang stood up and asked everyone, "My fellow citizens, is planting trees a good thing or a bad thing?" The crowd grew silent.

Then Yushutai villager Dehong Liu said, "Of course it's a good thing!"

"Then why are you all trying to avoid such a good thing?" asked Liang.

Instantly, the discussion resumed and this time, it seemed every villager was offering to help. In the end, Ansi secretary Pihong Hu addressed the crowd, "Our village is large, the land is farmable, and we have a big workforce. Besides, the school is in our village, and we can teach the students about the environment and they can help maintain the forest. The land will come from Ansi."

Thus all was decided. Ansi and Baizhaung would supply 20 mu of valleys and 700 mu of mountainous land. Jiazhuang, Yushutai, Nuxingtai, Baishupan, and other villages would help prepare the land and plant the tree saplings.

In the beginning of 2000, with the help of 9 villages, the 720 mu of land became the beginning of a lush, green forest. Finally, the children had their own forest that would last for generations to come.

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